Dave Allen at Large (TV Series 1971–1979) Poster

(1971–1979)

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Comic Genius
hillari20 December 2001
Dave Allen was one of the best storytellers I have ever heard. He would draw an audience into a tale, then zap them with a witty ending. I miss seeing this show on public TV. Someone needs to put this out on video! Today's comedians could take excellent notes from Mr. Allen.
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10/10
So underrated - even by people who like him!
clare-sherman80011 May 2006
Nice review from Rosabel - but it does seem that people from north America have a distorted view of Dave Allen. Yes, he started out telling traditional jokes, but his material evolved over the years and became increasingly observational, drawing on his own life. He was probably the first comedian to say on British television "Have you ever noticed that...?" Much as you may dislike modern comedians, he was a major influence on them - whether they realise it or not. He was certainly unique in that he straddled that gap between old and new. As for Benny Hill - it's an insult to Dave to even mention him in the same sentence. Dave was gentle - but he could be savage too, and his targets were usually people who deserved it. Much missed for his integrity and compassion. And for being funny!
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10/10
Never failed to leave me laughing
Rosabel23 July 2002
Gosh, I loved this show! It came on Canadian TV when I was a kid, and it was one of the highlights of my week. Dave Allen was an extremely skilled raconteur, and his show mixed comedy skits with standup (or, in his case, sitdown) comedy monologues. Unlike most present-day comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Allen mostly did not do self-referential humour. He told regular *stories* and typical jokes, but he did it so well, he leaves many modern, trendy comedians looking thin and cramped. His were stories about little old ladies going to mass, boozy men down at the pub, village priests and country gossips, all delivered in a captivating Irish brogue that could just keep you enchanted for hours. He's the sort of fellow you wish you had for a favourite uncle, who you could imagine holding forth after family dinners, leaving everyone in stitches with his mimicry and crazy tales. His stories and skits making fun of Catholicism and the Church were some of the best things he did, and remind me of a more innocent time, when the laughter wasn't as bitter as it is today.
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10/10
"Why are there no unicorns in the world today?"
Blueghost13 July 2012
"Because they missed the boat." Sayeth Dave Allen in one of his many riffs on religion and fables thereof. I watched Dave Allen imports from the UK throughout the 70s and 80s, and loved every minute of them.

I don't have too much to say about Dave Allen or his show, other than he was a comic genius. His vignettes, his stand up material where he usually sat in his chair on a stage before an audience as he delivered zingers and funny stories, it was all entertaining.

Unlike Benny Hill who did largely burlesque, Dave Allen's material was a little more high brow. His sketches and jokes didn't rely on sex nor body functions, and usually were just poking innocent fun at history and society as a whole.

There's nothing much more to add, other than don't think about his humor too much. Take it for what it is. Just love and laugh the legacy he's left us.

Enjoy.
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10/10
"There's this Irishman..."
ShadeGrenade8 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
1971 was a vintage year for B.B.C. comedy all right, what with 'The Two Ronnies' getting underway, and Dave Allen beginning his marvellous, long-running series.

'Large' combined sketches with monologues, the latter delivered by the man himself, smartly dressed, seated in a chair, cigarette in one hand, a glass of whisky ( or something ) perched on a nearby table. His style was all his own. He was cool. Unique ( With more and more modern comedy performed to speed, just think if Dave were appearing on television today, his act would probably be regarded as 'too slow'. It used to take him three minutes just to light a cigarette and get comfortable. ) He told stories on a wide variety of topics, but mainly about religion as he had had a strict Catholic upbringing in Ireland, and took delight in mocking the subject. On one occasion, he even told a creepy horror tale, and held his audience spellbound.

A number of stock characters evolved in the sketches, including a would-be revolutionary constantly trying to blow up 'El Presidente', and a Pope-like figure always being carried around in a chair. One of my favourite items had monks arguing over porridge, a dispute culminating in a messy fight. Another had rival undertakers' firms competing with each other to see who could get to the cemetery first. And there was a 'Robin Hood' spoof too.

He would sign off with "Goodnight, and may your God go with you.". Note the 'your God', and not just 'God'.

Aiding and abetting him were a number of talented comic performers such as Michael Sharvell-Martin, the late Ronnie Brody, the late Peter Hawkins, and the attractive Jacqueline Clarke. Future 'That's Life' presenter Chris Serle was a regular in the first series. The catchy theme tune was 'Blarney's Stoned' by Alan Hawkshaw.

When the D.V.D. finally appears, why not reacquaint yourself with one of the funniest men ever to grace a television screen?
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The show still had punch almost 20 years after it was made
darkdayforanime24 May 2004
It was amazing, when I first started watching this show, how funny it was. This was the mid to late 80's, and even then I remarked on the show's vintage. Most comedy shows of that age would barely have raised a smile: times had changed. But somehow Allen's humour seemed as fresh as it had been when it was made. Lord knows how it must've gone down in the 70's, I certainly couldn't see it ever having been broadcast any earlier than 10pm....

Allen lived near here at some stage, in a sort of retirement. It didn't seem to matter what age he was, though, he always bore an odd resemblance to my old man (and they were about the same age)....

R.I.P. Dave Allen. You left many fond memories for this viewer.
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An old and really funny show.
Antioch_Cyberpunk5 June 2005
I used to watch this show back when I was a kid, and to this day I still think of it from time-to-time. (Hence the fact that I'm here today.) He would mix sitting on stage and telling jokes to showing skits that were Python-like in their humor. While on stage, he'd always have a drink in his hand. One time he had the camera do a close-up and you could see that he had part of one finger missing. He'd say, "I used to hold my glass with that finger... strong drink!" I know darn well that if I were to see this today it wouldn't be nearly as funny as my childhood memory, but then again, maybe it would.

One of my favorite skits had him dressed as a bishop with a robe, miter and staff. (Religeon was one of his comedy foils, but he'd always emphasize he was just having fun.) He was in a litter being carried by two men. Across the field, they spotted a rival bishop, also in a litter. The two men glared at each other, lowered their staffs, and had their litter-bearers run at each other like they were in a joust. I liked it.
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The best off beat comedy show to watch to get ya to smile
Owl1013 July 1999
The best damn show to watch to make you just laugh so darn hard at all the jokes and the skits you feel like coughing up a lung. I miss watching this show and wish that I could find it somewhere on video.
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The Best of The Best
Thor20004 April 2001
If Benny Hill is the King of British Comedy, then Dave Allen is the Duke. He has a marvelous talent for combining mimmickry and mannerisms into telling stories, as well as a mind for creating the funniest sketches. Even without the scale of a Benny Hill size extravaganza, he creates the same level of humor. While Benny was always, can he do that, Dave was always, he did that ! His humor, though, of sex, drinking and religion might be too contoversial for today, but there's a lot less funny comics getting way with a lot more.
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8/10
Monology, Sketches and "the Old Blarney!"
redryan6428 June 2014
IN MUCH THE same manner that the "Fab Four" from Liverpool, the BEATLES' arrival on the shores of our folks here in "the Colonies" spawned a full invasion of British Pop Stars, so too the appearance of MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS over Public Broadcasting System's affiliated stations had a similar effect.

ONCE WE Americans had acquired a taste for "the Lumberjack Song", the Dead Parrot Sketch" and "Silly Walks", the PBS big shots were chomping at the bit for more. Soon we were treated to THE GOODIES, THE TWO RONNIES, NO HONESTLY and, of course, BENNY HILL.

IN THE MIDST of this, we found DAVE ALLEN AT LARGE, a half hour hosted by an Irishman, whose preference seemed to be the somewhat lost art of the story. In short, he was good at telling jokes. That surely was his strong suit; although he did participate in the show's sketches.

DRAWING ON HIS own life experiences, the show features a lot of "Catholic Funnies", as well as a liberal dose of situations involving the Age Old Irish-English feud.

OTHERWISE, WE FOUND this Dave Allen guy to be a fine host, who made us feel right at home in front of our TV sets, right in that time slot that followed MONTY PYTHON on Channel 11, WTTW,PBS in Chicago. It was on Sundays at 11:00 PM.
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10/10
I miss this show!
Buc2524 February 2007
Dave Allen at Large is the epitome of English humor, and there's none better. While Benny Hill is reknown for his risqué humor and antics, Dave Allen serves up a generous helping of true humor, each and every episode. Not being in England, I don't know if they truly appreciated what they had in this series, but I know that I sure do. And if they were smart, the entire series would be on DVD.

With little more than a stool, a drink, and a cigarette (okay, so that's not politically correct - I never claimed to be), Dave can have you in stitches simply with his facial expressions and accents. Add to that the periodic sketches, and you have a show that's worth its weight in gold.
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8/10
They don't make them like this anymore.
Java_Joe25 March 2019
Dave Allen was an Irish comedian that was unabashedly un-PC. He would sit there in a chair, smoke, drink and tell jokes or "gags". And occasionally they'd show a sketch on the video screens next to him. Nothing was off limits although he tended to poke the most fun at the English, the Irish and the church.

He was a storyteller and that's something that is in short supply today. He didn't just tell the joke. He weaved it into a story that kept you mesmerized and then BAM! Hit you with the punchline that would more often than not have you roaring with laughter.

Sadly he's no longer with us but his comedy remains.
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9/10
A guilty pleasure at best
einezcrespo22 July 2007
My father an ex-Seminarian discovered this show on PBS and it became a Saturday night staple. Despite the jokes especially about religion (mostly that), alcohol, politics and don't forget the occasional dirty leprechaun jokes it didn't make me or any of my siblings guilty. Oh no! We enjoyed the skits even if they seem blasphemous or a little R rated. We never failed to miss an episode. Dave Allen taught us not to take the gags and the taboo subject of religion, politics, etc too seriously. The fact he can just sit on stage and tell a story with whiskey on hand is like being in a big pub is pure magic and of course the impersonations that left the audience in stitches. I was sad when PBS pulled the show from it's air waves. It was a real shame. He will be missed and who can forget his sign off. "Goodnight, bless you and may your God go with you." We miss you Dave!
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7/10
Sometimes Funny And Sometimes Bad
bigverybadtom6 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The show is akin to "Monty Python's Flying Circus" in that it was very uneven. Dave Allen put out a huge variety of jokes, presumably with the idea that at least some of them would work. Which was the ultimate effect.

Unlike Monty Python, there were no animations, and the humor was more conventional and less silly (for the most part). Also, Dave Allen was clearly the star and boss, unlike Monty Python whose members spread the work. The skits were on a huge variety of scenarios and themes, more than Monty Python would do, though the show's focus was largely on pop entertainment such as old Westerns or spy movies or sword-and-sandals epics or science fiction.

So how did things work out? Some moments were very funny while others bombed. Perhaps this was inevitable in any variety show.
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